HAZELWOOD principal Kathleen Gormley, at the school’s annual prize night, has said good grades will no longer be enough for pupils and stressed the importance of building high quality careers education at the school.
The head teacher, during her speech, emphasised the need for the Whitewell school to continue moving forward and progressing, “Standing still is not an option,” she said
“Since the inception of Hazelwood Integrated College in 1985 it has grown steadily in both it’s size and quality of education.
“Good grades for pupils in future will no longer be enough, we cannot leave careers advice to chance.
“We will build high quality careers education built into our provision to ensure that education at Hazelwood counts.”
Minister for Education John O’Dowd was guest speaker at the prize night and Mrs Gormley thanked him for his support for the school’s ‘Hazelwood goes to work scheme’ which saw 400 students and staff go to work outside the school.
She continued: “Hazelwood is committed to school improvement right across, not just our college, but also across the Area Learning Community.
“We encourage the minister to seek curriculum review and reform which ensures equality of opportunity at 11, 16 and at 18.
“To achieve this will take courage which goes beyond partisan lines of both schooling and parties.
“But to push up standards here far beyond national and international benchmarks will put us on the map of economic upturn.
“Never at any time was integrated education needed more in this area. The college serves the two communities under one roof addressing a wide range of issues at a time of heightened community tension.
“The college enjoys a high level of support from the two communities as well as from the business sector. Daily we make a difference on what happens on the front line.”
The principal also celebrated the school’s past year of success, she added: “This year 74 per cent of pupils achieved five A* to C grades in GCSEs and, as well as key achievements in our current specialism of digital arts we have excelled in science, technology and engineering (STEM) subjects.
“We feel that STEM subjects are for all our students and with a growing number of jobs in this area at all levels.
“Hazelwood needs to be at the forefront in dispelling the notion that STEM subjects are only for the brightest and best and will focus on excellence in these subjects at both academic and vocational level.
“Sixth Form and its associated curriculum at Hazelwood will transform from being merely a recruiting ground for university to one where the students’ seven years of study culminates in them being �job or college ready. Our inclusive educational culture will ensure there is access for all students to a valid pathway post-16.”
She concluded: “This strategic move by Hazelwood in STEM and careers education will, we believe, help to address poverty of aspiration.
“To have a STEM specialism for this area at second level will directly impact on the success of post-16 education in the two neighbouring learning communities and ensure that,�a better Hazelwood will result in a better Belfast�.
“It will put children - all of our children first.”
Speaking after the event, Education Minister John O’Dowd said: “These ceremonies recognise the hard work and achievement of pupils in our schools and I was honoured to be invited to share in the celebration of success at Hazelwood Integrated College.
“Such events, however, serve not only to highlight the success of the young people themselves, but also the commitment and dedication of the teachers and staff in our schools. Indeed they also recognise the support and involvement of the wider school community in the life of our schools.
“We have world-class education professionals working in our schools, but they cannot provide young people with a quality education alone.
“They need the support of parents and the wider school community as education does not start and stop at the school gates.
“I would just like to thank the principal, Kathleen Gormley, for the invitation to attend this special event.
“I also want to commend the strong leadership that she, along with the vice-principals and the entire Board of Governors provide which helps makes the school a success.
“It is their dedication along with the teachers and school staff which help the young people attending Hazelwood Integrated College to achieve their goals.
“Finally, of course, I want to congratulate the young people themselves on their hard work and enthusiasm and I wish them every success in the future.”